Subject: SEL (Social-Emotional Learning)
Lesson Length: 20 - 30 min (possibly daily)
Grade Level: 4, 5, 6, 7
SOCIAL AWARENESS: The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, & contexts. This includes the capacities to feel compassion for others.
Brief Description: Students will create a comic journal documenting what they’re grateful for.
Know Before You Start: Understand the practice and science of gratitude and why it’s important for mental/emotional health.
Hook: Have students take 30 seconds to picture something or someone they’re truly grateful for. What do they see? What do they feel?
Discuss what they envisioned and the emotions they experienced. (Ex. feeling warmth, feeling safe, feeling less tense or feeling happy).
Explain: Gratitude isn’t just saying “thank you”. It’s pausing and really feeling the feeling in your body.
Practicing daily gratitude has been scientifically proven to have long-lasting effects on the body and especially the brain . The more you practice the more positive your perspective becomes. (Greater Good Magazine, Berkeley.edu).
Activity: It’s time to create a gratitude comic journal entry. Each 2-4 panel entry should include:
- A detailed description of one person, thing, or event they are thankful for
- Narration in captions
- Dialogue in speech or thought bubbles
- Intentional outfits/ backgrounds that help illustrate their gratitude
- Avatars of people or pets if celebrating gratitude about them
- A date in the first panel caption
Suggested prompts to get students thinking:
- Who unconditionally supports you in your life? Thank them and tell them why they are so special to you in a comic cell.
- What is a place you are grateful to have visited or get to be in often? Describe why you like it in your comic cell.
- What talents are you grateful for that you have? Show us your avatar being thankful for those talents.
- What is one memory you are grateful to have? Show us that memory and why you are grateful for it.
If they choose, Teachers may have students create one or more entries each week in order to create a year-long journal of gratitude in comic form. These can be printed or shared online.
Reflection Questions (to be shared over time):
- How has routinely practicing gratitude changed you emotionally? Mentally?
- Have you practiced gratitude in different ways (Sent a thank you letter? Called someone to thank them?)